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Canterbury 52 Westcliff 15: National League 2 South match report


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By David Haigh

Canterbury's mission to play free-flowing rugby paid handsome dividends with a 52-15 win over National League 2 South's bottom side Westcliff.

Centre Frankie Morgan scored three of his side's eight tries in a welcome fourth victory of the season.

Danny Herriott in possession for Canterbury, who racked up eight tries against Westcliff Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Danny Herriott in possession for Canterbury, who racked up eight tries against Westcliff Picture: Phillipa Hilton

However, for much of the first half Canterbury struggled to match their ambition with proper execution. They did ease to a 21-5 lead by half-time, but only after they had rid themselves of wasteful habits.

Those included handing easy ball to Westcliff and failing to turn attacking flair into points.

A promising opening saw an outside break from wing Guy Hilton set up Morgan's first try and Kyan Braithwaite slotted the first of his six conversions, but after that there was too much self-inflicted harm.

Westcliff full-back Greg Bannister, who scored all his side's points, filched an interception try and it wasn't until the final seven minutes of the half that Canterbury's expansive game came together with further touchdowns by Braithwaite and Hilton.

Westcliff's limitations, however, were ripe for picking and the longer the game went on the more they were exposed. The heavyweights in their pack were full of resistance and the occasional niggle, but Canterbury's all-round pace and athleticism in the loose tested them to breaking point.

Canterbury's Sam Churchyard leaves Westcliff trailing Picture: Phillipa Hilton
Canterbury's Sam Churchyard leaves Westcliff trailing Picture: Phillipa Hilton

Aiden Moss opened the second-half scoring after four minutes, dented temporarily by Bannister's second try as Westcliff took advantage of a friendly bounce and a loose ball. He then added a penalty goal to further close the gap, but the city side's all-court game proved to be too much for the visitors' tiring legs.

Dwayne Corcoran had the easiest of overlaps as the match approached the last quarter and as Canterbury continued to move the ball at pace the gaps opened up, with Morgan, twice, and replacement Tom Williams putting the finishing touches to some bold and inventive rugby.

Canterbury visit second-placed Esher on Saturday.

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